Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seldovia, Alaska

Hi Again,

On Tuesday, July 28, we took a water taxi charter boat called the "Discovery" from Homer across Kachemak Bay to Seldovia. The only way to get to Seldovia is by air or water. There are no roads leading into this small town of 282 "friendly people and a few old crabs." (Actual words from the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce Welcome Flyer).

It took almost 2-1/2 hours to get there because the folks running the charter took us past various islands, coves, and passageways to see the thousands of birds in a couple of bird rookeries and beautiful scenery along the way.

Also, when was the last time you saw two dozen sea otters floating on their backs and, seemingly, waving at us as the boat goes by? The weather was a bit rainy and overcast at times, actually kind of mystic, about 60 degrees temperature, and the sea was calm.

After arriving at the port, most people looked for a place to eat. We found a great restaurant, with a table near the window overlooking the sea port, and had a wonderful lunch, including a salmon coconut bisque soup. Then, we walked the town (down the middle of the road because there was no traffic -- in fact, they don't even have sidewalks) and, we saw the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (built in 1895), what's left of the old boardwalk after the 1964 earthquake, wood cravings located along the streets, picturesque old houses, and flowers.

It took only 1-1/2 hours to get back to Homer. We left Homer at 11 a.m. and returned at 5:15 p.m. It was well worth the trip. If you are planning a trip to Alaska, make this a side trip - six hours of spectacular views for $45 a person.

Still planning on staying here in Homer until Sunday. Dave and Dorothy arrived here today, Wednesday. Tomorrow, Dave and Jerry are going out halibut fishing (if the sea is calm). Dorothy and I plan to walk the little shops on the spit tomorrow.

After they arrived today, Dorothy and I decided to walk into the town that is nearly 3 miles out. We left at noon and didn't get back until after 6 p.m. Except for a 30 minute sit-down to grab a bite to eat, we walked the whole time. And, Dorothy had already walked 5 miles before we did this. Both of us are very sore and should sleep well tonight!

More to follow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homer, Alaska

We like Homer, Alaska! What more can we ask for. We are on a peninsula (the "spit"). Water all around us, mountains with some snow dripping down them, puffy clouds hanging around the mountains, blue sky between the clouds, absolutely no noise (except for an occasional boat or airplane), a bit of a slight wind -- and our RV now faces right into all of this.

We arrived in Homer on Wednesday (July 22) and stayed at a private RV park (same scenery as above) for four days until moving here today (Sunday) to the City of Homer RV Park. The difference? Better spot here and much cheaper! The negatives: no hook-ups (but they do have water and a dump on site). With our generator and inverter, we do just fine dry-docking.

Yesterday, Jerry took a really small water taxi (with a few others) to a cove across the bay to dig for clams. I didn't go because that is just not my thing. He really got a work out! After seeing his video, it confirmed for me that I made the right decision by not going along. To top it off, it was a cold, rainy, and windy day. But, we had the most delicious, best ever, clam linguini with garlic bread last night.

We are planning to stay here for the whole week, take our bikes to explore the place further and walk all the little shops again (we missed a lot of them on our first walk) and check out the down town.

Talked to Dorothy and Dave last night. They are still in the Glenn Highway area heading towards Anchorage. Should be in this area later in the week.
Will add more to this blog later this week. Enjoy your week!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hope, Alaska

Hi Everyone,

What a find! Beautiful road leading into this small town of a few hundred people and easy access to fishing. Below are some pictures of the scenery on the way into the city of Hope. The picture on the top is pretty much the whole town.

We parked with the back of the RV towards the river. So, all we had to do was walk a hundred feet or so to the river.

Jerry, after a bit of a learning curve, caught two pink salmon. There is something special about eating the salmon that you caught yourself and served on my birthday.

The weather report for the whole Kenai peninsula shows rain. But, that doesn't always mean a thing because more than half of the time the report is wrong. It did rain a bit in Hope, though, and one night we had very high winds that rocked the RV all night long. Put me to sleep and kept Jerry awake!

We've moved on to Homer and will tell you more about Homer in the next posting.

Until next time, enjoy the life you love. And, thank you to those who emailed or called me on my birthday yesterday.

Jerry and Mary

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wasilla, Alaska - Home of the Iditarod Trail Headquarters

Well, today we learned more about the famous Alaskan Iditarod at its Headquarters here in Wasilla. The Iditarod Trail sled dog race takes place every March and represents the ultimate challenge in outdoor adventure. For the 70 or more brave souls (ranging in age from 18-69 this year) who start the trip, it is a human and animal trial of unimaginable weather and terrain conditions from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, a journey of over 1,049 miles. Each person, in their own way, bonds with their dogs and with nature. It certainly takes courage, stamina, endurance, skill and a little luck. One woman has done it 30 times and has come in the top 10 for the last 20 years. This year was the 37th running of the Iditarod.

At the Headquarters, we saw the puppies that will later become sledding dogs. We also had a chance to experience a ride pulled by actual musher dogs. Picture on the right is Jerry taking a ride and video-taping it. See Jerry's video and pictures below and on the side. (If you double-click on any of the pictures in the written blog, they will enlarge on your screen.)

The weather forecast has called for rain for the last three days and into the coming days. However, it hasn't rained during the day, just at night. The temperature is about 68-70 degrees. Perfect for biking, which we did to get to the Iditarod Headquarters, and yesterday, to bike into town for our usual Subway sandwich. Jerry brought back wood for burning at night and we have eaten all of our meals outside -- cooked on the grill by Jerry. (For those of you out there that do not know this by now, I don't cook. Jerry makes all of the meals. Can't beat that! And he loves to cook!!!)

Tomorrow we move on to somewhere else. We will figure out where that is tomorrow. After dry camping for four or five days, we like to go to a place that has full hook-ups.

Until next time, take the time to enjoy your life.

Jerry and Mary

Monday, July 13, 2009

Talkeetna, Alaska Events

Hello to All,

Lots has happened in the last few days. Dorothy and Dave joined us on Friday. Had a nice shrimp pasta dinner with garlic bread that Jerry cooked outside and we ate outdoors. The weather has been unbelievably pleasant -- in the low 80s during the day and 60s at night. Hardly any mosquitos, though Dave and Dorothy had just come from Willow and they said they were nearly eaten alive by mosquitos there.

On Saturday, Talkeetna held their annual "Moose Dropping Festival." No --- they don't drop a moose; they drop the moose droppings. We were under the mistaken assumption that the "moose droppings" they use and actually sell were fake or made out of candy. Not so! They use ACTUAL MOOSE DROPPINGS in a variety of creative ways!!! And, get this -- people actually pay money for them! See picture of moose dropping earrings (decorated and painted). (Moose droppings with numbers on each one were also used for the "Moose Dropping" Contest later that evening.)

They held a 5K run that started at 10:30 a.m. Jerry entered it. There were 289 runners in the race. He came in third for his category (age 60 and over). The parade started at noon. See slide show for a brief overview of the parade.

There was music, lots of vendors selling all kinds of things, and the 37th annual "moose dropping" contest. You had to purchase a moose dropping with a number on it for $5 each. Duplicate numbers were then put into a bag and dropped from high in the air. The people holding the first 12 numbers closest to the center of the circle on the ground won money ($1,500 for first prize), and so did the one with the number farthest away from the circle ($300). See Jerry's video of the event that took place at 6 p.m.

Later that evening, Jerry grilled steaks with baked potatos and corn on the cob. Dorothy and I bought rhubbarb crisp from a vendor for dessert that evening. But, since the guys were too full to eat dessert, Dorothy and I encroached on their pieces after first eating ours. (We also ate rhubbard pie in the afternoon!) Now, we all were full!!

On Sunday, Dorothy, Jerry and I took the local Alaska train 55 miles into the wilderness and back again. (David had to stay with his dog, Moose.) Normally, one can see Mt. McKinley (about 45 miles away) at the end of the train run. But, with over 60 fires currently burning in Alaska, the view was shrouded in smoke and we could not really see the mountain.
Other than that, words cannot describe the scenery -- so here is a video that Jerry made of the ride.

Here is just one picture taken on our train ride.

Yesterday (Monday), Dorothy and Dave left to go north to Denali National Park. Jerry and I will visit the park later in August. We will head on Wednesday to go back to the Kenai peninsula to hang out there some more.

Again -- keep living the life you love.

Jerry and Mary

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Talkeetna, Alaska

Hi Everyone,

After spending three more days in Soldotna and exploring further that little town, we left yesterday (June 7) and drove to Anchorage. OMG! Getting into the city at rush hour was not our cup of tea. We forgot about the traffic at rush hour. Certainly not as bad as LA, but something we like to avoid.

We sure that the drive to Anchorage must be beautiful. But, we couldn't see the mountains for the dense smoke from the fires in Denali. We checked out two of the three RV parks in Anchorage that we were aware of, and settled in on so close to the railroad tracks we felt as if the train was really going to hit our RV. (We didn't see the railroad tracks when we checked in.)

Today, after getting our Starbucks mochas, we headed for Talkeetna and had to drive through Wasilla to get here. Sarah Palin hails from Wasilla, so we were a bit more interested in that little town than usual. Let me say this -- it is small! There was a sign directing people to the downtown on Main Street. We made a right hand turn to go in that direction and saw the post office and another government building -- and two blocks later, we were past the downtown. Actually, the highway runs straight through the town, with numerous little businesses along the way. We ate our Subway sandwich there and were once again on our way.

The road to Talkeetna (Highway 3 - Parks Highway) was a bit bumpty. And, again, we couldn't really see what we think may have been beautiful mountains because of the smoke. Talkeetna is geering up for its annual "Moose Dropping Festival" this weekend. The town reminds us of Cambria, CA -- lots of small unique shops and many people already here just walking the streets.

The weather is hot -- 84 degrees! And, very little breeze. Tonight, we will walk the town ourselves and actually find a place to eat. (Jerry, the cook, wants a night off.)

Dorothy and Dave will be joining us this weekend for the festivities. Will tell you more about it in our next blog.

Until then -- take care.

Jerry and Mary

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July From Soldotna, Alaska

July 4, 2009

On July 3, 1776, the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams (our second President) wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail:

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfire and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Although July 4 has been designated as the day to celebrate this momentous event, Mr. Adams's prescience was amazing -- especially when he referred to "this Continent." And, here we are in Alaska some 233 years later, not only celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but also the fact that Alaska became the 49th state some 50 years ago as of this year.

Today, we joined the City of Kenai in its celebration of both events. It was not much different than how Cambria celebrates the 4th each year -- except that Kenai had a parade. See picture of kid eating a hot dog.

There are no firework displays tonight here in Alaska as it doesn't get dark enough. We hear that they have their firework displays in January.

Hope you had a great celebration, too.

Jerry and Mary

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soldotna Cinnamon Rolls

Hi Everyone,

The large sign says that they serve "World Famous Cinnamon Rolls." We had to try one. So we walked to the place (about 2 blocks from the park) and each ordered the "small" cinnamon roll with coffee. Can't imagine what the "large" one would look like!! They were delicious. But, there was no way we could finish them and we each took over half of ours back to the RV.

Here is another view of the Kenai River taken from a boardwalk near the Visitor's Center in Soldotna. Lots of sea gulls fly around waiting to pick at the left over parts of fish cleaned by the fishermen along the shores.

Dorothy and Dave are in Homer and will join us tomorrow.

Until next time -- have a great 4th of July.

Jerry and Mary